For most people, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration with family, but there are also temptations during this time of year. From corporate parties to gatherings with friends, holiday alcohol is everywhere. It’s even proven that people drink more during the season.

The holidays are also full of stressors, from crowded stores to making travel plans. In addition, people may suffer from holiday blues and turn to substances like alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression.

If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse, this time of year can be especially difficult.

We’re here to help with tips on how to avoid relapse and remain on the path to sobriety.

Skip the Risky Gatherings

One reason people partake in holiday binge drinking is that festive cocktails are everywhere, from advertisements to parties. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, one of the most crucial tips for success is to avoid environments that fuel that addiction.

The most obvious spots to avoid are bars, but many seasonal gatherings occur in restaurants where people are bound to order alcoholic drinks. Even when parties take place at someone’s home, the holiday alcohol seems to be everywhere.

If you know drinks will be served at a party, it’s best to avoid the risk. Explain that you don’t want to be around alcohol and acknowledge your triggers.

Establish firm boundaries. Your true friends and your family should respect those boundaries, even if they don’t fully understand the reason behind them.

Remember, it’s okay to say “No.”

Rely on Your Support Network

Whether you’re receiving help for your addiction at one of our alcohol treatment centers in San Diego or not, one of our crucial tips for success is to create a social support network.

It’s not easy to open up about addiction, but talking to your friends and family can make the holiday season easier for you. State the fact that you’re trying to get better and that you need to avoid temptation.

Make a list of the people closest to you that you feel comfortable talking to about your struggles. Connect with the ones that love and support you, even if it’s been a while. In some cases, reaching out might be tough, especially if you’ve had arguments over your addiction in the past, but they’ll always be there for you.

If you’re uncomfortable opening up to someone, find another person that can be a pillar of strength in tough times. That could be a close friend or someone you’ve met in a support group.

Talk about how you want to avoid holiday alcohol and ask for assistance or understanding.

If you’re struggling with depression during this time, read our blog on managing stress and anxiety.

Create New Traditions

People, places, and activities can all become triggers for those struggling with substance abuse. You may associate certain traditions with drinking, such as attending annual Christmas parties, which can result in a relapse. You’ll also be around more people who are actively drinking, presenting even more of a challenge.

Avoiding past holiday traditions can make people feel as if they’re unable to celebrate the season as they used to. In some cases, it can lead to holiday blues and depression.

However, this is the perfect time to create new traditions and celebrate how far you’ve come. Connect with the people in your life that love you, and spend time with friends and family. There are plenty of celebratory activities that don’t involve alcohol.

Here are a few ideas to give you inspiration:

  • Holiday baking
  • Movie marathon
  • Decorating for the season
  • Winter sports
  • Go to the theater
  • Watch a holiday play or concert
  • Take a vacation
  • Viewing holiday lights
  • Playing board games or card games
  • Hosting or attending non-alcoholic parties

Recognize the Warning Signs of Relapse

Relapses often occur because people don’t know the warning signs. It’s crucial to listen to your body and identify these early on.

A relapse has three stages: emotional, mental, and physical.

Common red flags include:

  • Returning to old thinking patterns
  • Behaving compulsively
  • Looking for situations that involve alcohol
  • Behaving irresponsibly

Seeking proper care at a San Diego alcohol rehabilitation center lets you learn methods for achieving and maintaining sobriety. It also teaches you how to recognize these relapse warning signs, how to avoid them, and what to do if you recognize any.

Seek Help if You Need It

Remember, help is out there, and there’s nothing wrong with seeking assistance for addiction. Taking that first step is something to take pride in, as it will lead you toward a healthier and happier life.

If you’re worried about a relapse due to being around holiday alcohol, join a support group or seek therapy to develop new, healthy habits. There are plenty of people out there that have been in your shoes or understand what you’re going through. Talking to them makes you realize you’re not alone.

A therapist trained to help individuals struggling with addiction can also offer invaluable advice. They understand the challenges on the path to sobriety and will help you overcome these obstacles through new thinking patterns and coping skills.

Create a Structured Schedule

A pre-planned, organized schedule can help you achieve your goals and help you make healthier choices. It makes it easier to say “no” to spontaneous invitations out, which often involve being around alcohol.

Staying sober is your priority, so you need to take every step you can to head toward that goal. Creating a daily and weekly routine will keep your mind focused even during the holiday season.

Avoid Holiday Alcohol

These tips should help you avoid holiday alcohol and make healthy choices. Maintaining sobriety isn’t easy, but getting help when you need it is the key to success.

If you’re looking for rehab centers in San Diego, Apex can help you stay on the path of sobriety. Simply reach out to our friendly intake coordinators to start receiving care. We don’t accept Medi-Cal at this time, but we do accept self-pay options.